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Election redirection

Hispanic nets focus on Mexico campaign

In the run-up to Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday, candidates unleashed their final barrage of political spots and on-air interviews Wednesday, the last day they can legally campaign — at least at home.

Mexican law demands that campaigning cease three days before the election, but the 2006 contest is the first in which Mexicans abroad can vote.

U.S. Spanish-language networks, who serve a demo dominated by native Mexicans or Mexican-Americans, are stepping up coverage in the final days of the race.

On Thursday at 10 p.m., Univision will air interviews with the main candidates, including leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Felipe Calderon of the incumbent conservative PAN party, and examine the legacy of Vicente Fox, Mexico’s first president elected from outside the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which held power for some 70 years.

NBC Universal-owned Telemundo has been spreading coverage this week through all dayparts, including a daily segment on its ayem show “Cada dia con Maria Antonieta,” and dedicated coverage during afternoon newsmag “Al rojo vivo con Maria Celeste.”

Telemundo anchor Pedro Sevcec hosted the network’s 6:30 p.m. newscast from Mexico all this week; he and weekend anchor Rogelio Mora Tagle will report live from Mexico City at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday, election day, Univision will begin news updates at 7 a.m. before polls open; Telemundo coverage starts at noon ET.

The two will go head to head at 6:30 p.m. ET that evening with newscasts from Mexico City.

Telemundo will begin airing election night special “Decision Mexico” at 5 p.m. PT, with Maria Antonieta Collins hosting the one-hour live broadcast.

Univision comes on at 10 p.m. with its news spec “Mexico Decide,” hosted by Salinas and Ramos.

Back in Mexico, dominant web Televisa is expected to make around $60 million from the deluge of political spots this year. Mexico saw an unrelenting, U.S.-style campaign of negative TV and radio ads.

Lopez Obrador bought up a half-hour on TV Azteca every weekday and some latenights to broadcast an infomercial-style show. Helmer Luis Mandoki sold copies of his favorable three-part, nine-hour documentary on Lopez Obrador for around $2 a pop and gave away thousands of copies.

Further spots, campaigning or on-air interviews are now barred in Mexico, giving Mexicans a chance to watch World Cup soccer quarterfinals in peace.

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